In the installations of the "Escale Aéronautique Commandant Lemaitre" of the Blaise Diagne International Airport, the location from where the Tactical Air Detachment (DAT) Marfil operates, the taking over and change of command of the force commanders of the incoming and outgoing contingents has taken place.
The official ceremony was presided over by Colonel Fernando Raimundo Martínez, Head of the Logistics Section of the Operations Command (MOPS). Following the protocol, Lieutenant Colonel Jorge Juan Moreno Fernandez was given command of the DAT Marfil, and Lieutenant Colonel Carlos Jiménez Andrés took over from him.
Colonel Raimundo, in his speech, valued the great work carried out by the outgoing contingent, highlighting the importance and firm commitment of Spain to peace and international security. He also encouraged the members of the incoming force to continue with this work, as an excellent example of the contribution to foreign action made by the Armed Forces.
The DAT Marfil, of the French Air and Space Army, is part of Operation A/M. Its deployment base is the "Escale Aéronautique Commandant Lemaitre", located at the French Elements in Senegal (EFS) facility at Blaise Diagne International Airport.
Under the operational command of the MOPS, this operation is tasked with intra-theatre tactical and logistical airlift missions, as well as in-flight refuelling (if deployed assets permit) in support of France in its fight against terrorism.
In addition, the DAT Marfil supports the United Nations missions MINUSMA and MINUSCA, focused on the stabilisation of Mali and Central Africa (R.C.A.), respectively, as well as the European Union missions EUTM RCA and EUTM Mali, in support of the training and education of the respective armed forces and the G5 Sahel Joint Force.
The Detachment is composed of 70 military personnel from different Air and Space Army units, mostly personnel from the 35th Wing, the Air Deployment Support Squadron (EADA) and the Mobile Air Control Group (GRUMOCA). It operates with two Airbus C295 aircraft (military designation T-21) belonging to the 35th Wing, located at the Getafe Air Base (Madrid). The mission's Joint Force Air Component (JFAC), located in Lyon (France), is in charge of scheduling the missions of the two Spanish aircraft, which operate H24 in the joint operations area (JOA).
This Detachment is an example of the capabilities provided by Spain, in this case through the Air and Space Army, to other Armed Forces, where availability and operability are paramount. The resources operate in a sub-Saharan environment, which often means landing in unprepared fields and in extreme weather conditions of high temperatures and heavy rain, due to frequent seasonal storms. These factors, coupled with the large area of operations where the missions are conducted, are a constant challenge for the Detachment's aircrews.
After more than ten years of operation, the DAT Marfil is consolidated as an exemplary example of the use of our Armed Forces, deployed wherever national interests require it, strengthening the State's external action in its commitment to international peace and security.